I wouldn't read this if I were you. It's looooooong. I write a lot when I get myself locked onto a subject, especially if it's about remembering the past or things that bear meaning to me.
It's hard for me to think what the five most influential game to me could possibly be. I mean, seriously. I made sort of a list of various games I could think of, and after filling the list with the most important ones, and then getting rid of those that are trumped by others on the list or aren't as important as I was thinking they were, I've come down to about 16 games still. So I'm going to probably do this thing and then as I've got the thoughts going, tag the important ones over on the side there and keep it at 5. Somehow.
At the top of my ginormous list here is Banjo-Kazooie, which I've rented more than any other game ever. It's probably the most responsible for getting me into 3D platforming adventure games. Then since I was thinking about the 64, next on the list is GoldenEye. Though not *technically* the first FPS I ever played (I'm pretty sure at the very least I played a couple minutes of a bad Doom clone before that), it's the first one I ever played enough to matter. It can be seen as solely responsible for getting me into FPS's, which I still play a ton of today, so that's gotta count for something.
Speaking of FPS's, I'm going to skip down the list a bit and hit up one even further into the future. Halo PC. My first Halo experience was an XBox demo kiosk in a mall somewhere, but I didn't have an XBox. What I had was a PC. And come out on PC it did, and that was the game that finally turned me onto PC shooters. It's probably the first one I ever owned, and to this day I always set up my PC shooter controls based on the defaults from that game.
Going back up, I'm going to cross The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy off, here. One of the best NES sidescrolling adventures I've ever played, but I guess not really influential in the long run. Kirby's Adventure, on the other hand, definitely could have been. It's the one NES game I wanted to play the most through a good portion of my childhood. Oddly though, I never owned it until more recent years. Still, I played it every chance I possibly got. Still not sure if it was actually influential, but damn did it hold a big place in my heart.
Pokémon Blue single-handedly introduced me to RPG's. And also taught me that I was very bad at them (at the time). It opened me up to tons of others. Final Fantasy, EarthBound, Mario RPG... they were all fantastic. But Pokémon is the reason I got a Game Boy Color. Pokémon is the reason I started playing any RPG's ever. Pokémon is the reason I wasted like four years of my life. This one was definitely influential.
Let's hit the PSX. Resident Evil, ladies and gentlemen. Given, the first time I actually played it was more recently. Like, Resident Evil REmake was already released by the time I played it. And when I did, I only played it for a few minutes. I was at the neighbor's house 'cause I forgot my key when I went to school, and while waiting for my dad to show up they hooked up the PSX and I played long enough to fight the first zombie and then check out the map room. At that point, my dad arrived and reminded me that I was grounded and not allowed to play games. But it was too late: My mind was already blown. I ran out and got REmake the very next chance I got, and that proceeded to blow me away way waaay further. From there, I moved onto various other survival horrors, a genre I've come to love greatly.
Actually, if you think about it, RE3 was the game that did it, because before I ever even played RE, I had an Expert Gamer with a guide for RE3 (and an RE2 guide in the back, actually), and I read it *all the time*. The game just sounded so exciting. So if anything, that was probably it. But as I've actually still never even played RE3 (I know, what the hell, right?), I'm going to leave this at RE.
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes also blew me the hell away and started my intense craving for all things Metal Gear. I borrowed the game from my friend for a couple days. I beat it, then extended my borrow through the weekend, when I beat it two more times. Then I bought the game and have beaten it three *more* times since. And I've been planning to beat it a seventh time sometime soon. I spent my trip out in Arizona with my aunt and uncle playing MGS2, which I bought just in case I got bored. MG3 is now my favorite game of all time. It nearly made me shell out for a PS3 *just for MGS4*. MGSTTS has eaten my brain.
Star Fox 64 is an amazing game that thoroughly floored me, and it's one of the best I've ever played. It inspired me to sit down and create ideas for a movie trilogy based upon it and SF1 & 2. I still play it a lot when I see André, and occasionally sit down just to cruise through it here and there. Fantastic game.
Grand Theft Auto III awoke the goddamn beast. I played the hell out of that game. I played it so much, it gave me blisters. Literally, at midnight at the beginning of one of my birthdays, I was sitting there playing it for the millionth time all. Night. Long. And by morning, I had a big blister I had rocked it so hard. From there, Vice City. From there, the world. By which I mean San Andreas. One of the most amazing games I've played to date, and which I pretty much think about every day. *sigh* I should really play it again. But GTA3 is the one that started this whole downward spiral of doom. So the blame goes squarely there.
SSX Tricky... I dunno, it got me gaming with my dad but I guess not really all that influential. Deus Ex is probably one of the reasons I really got into story in games, and it was crazy fantastic to boot. The TMNT arcade game really got me hooked on arcades, but I guess there were many others that came first that I don't really remember...
PC adventure games. Probably the biggest genre for me. It's hard to know where to begin on this one, but there are three important ones that I played all the time when I was young, if you don't count Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon. Day of the Tentacle, Myst, and Space Quest 6. I mean, I guess I played a bunch of Torin's Passage too (which I actually rebought a couple months ago), and the few chapters I got to play of Phantasmagoria may be why I'm so fucked up today, but we'll stick with these three. Myst is crazy influential, and Day of the Tentacle made me love all LucasArts adventurers... but I think overall I blame Space Quest 6 for the blunt of it. I could never even get off the starting planet, but I remember playing it more than any other adventure game when I was little. So really, it's between this and Myst. Dunno.
So what have we learned, here? For one thing, apparently that whole time I just had an NES and a PC, games were little more than just distractions for me. It wasn't until I got a Game Boy Color and an N64 that things really started to pick up and I actually became what you'd call a gamer. So I did grow up in the NES years, but it's the later games that I really started to discover myself in.
...Well hell, that didn't help anything. I still have no idea what the top five are. I mean, you already see them. I've posted this by now, but by NOW, I still have to go through and come up with something useful. Gaaaaawda.